We have spent years working out the best way to produce reproduction custom View-Master film reels. The actual digital image to photographic image process was the easy part – we have been doing that for well over 25 years. Trickier were issues of image alignment and reel assembly, and what we have ended up with took aspects of the original mass-produced reels of old that is scaled down to low volume production.
2D or 3D?
Technically it makes no difference to us. All reels, as standard, have seven images (and this can’t be changed). However, if you want the reels to view as 3D (stereo) in the viewer, then you must supply 3D images. Of course, ordinary photos look great, but they just don’t view as 3D.
- The format of viewer images is landscape only, upright images won’t work well unless severely cropped.
- The final images on these reels are very small – just 11.5mm x 10mm – and work best with bold and colourful photos.
- Reels have seven images. At first glance it may seem that our Retro-View (View-Master compatible) reels have many more than seven images but remember that the viewers are binocular and each eye requires its own image to create the 3D illusion. Hence the 14 image windows.However, almost all of the reels we supply are created from 2D images, therefore the image is simply printed twice – one for the left eye, one for the right. No 3D illusion, but 2D images look fab anyway.In fact View-Master reels have always had seven images, since the system was created in the 1930s. And people do ask, but it is impossible to have more than seven images on a reel. Seven images and only seven images – that’s the rule.
If you are a Photoshop wizard then you can prepare your images to the correct size: 1240px wide x 1125px high @ 300dpi. You might find this template handy for image preparation: Retro-View template
Our Retro-View reels have images that are a very square-ish rectangle in landscape orientation. This can’t be varied, it is part and parcel of the venerable View-Master system.
Therefore, care should be taken when choosing your images. While it is possible to use other shaped images without cropping, they don’t look great as they don’t make best use of the very small image space.
If you can find your way around Photoshop then you are welcome to pre-prepare your own images (details lower down on this page). Otherwise, we will, by default intelligently crop your images to fit the Retro-View format.
Here below are some examples of what sort of images work and don’t work.